Bournemouth beach bans deckchairs over 'anti-social behaviour and violence' fears

20 August 2021, 07:08

Bournemouth council made the move amid fears over disorder
Bournemouth council made the move amid fears over disorder. Picture: Alamy
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A seaside council has missed out on £200,000 of income after deciding not to rent out deckchairs, in case they are used to attack staff.

Officials in Bournemouth and Poole have removed the usually striped seats from their beaches this summer over fears they could cause injury.

It follows several incidents of violence on already packed beaches this year, including in Southend where deckchairs were hurled between rival groups of men during a mass brawl.

In Bournemouth, where a major incident was declared last year following overcrowding fears, BCP Council said visitor safety was its priority as it defended a decision not to offer deckchairs or sun loungers to visitors – even if it loses them an estimated £200,000 in revenue.

Dorset Police were not consulted over if they had crime concerns related to deckchairs and sun loungers, a BCP Council spokesperson said.

Lib Dem councillor Vikki Slade claims the decision was taken after the resort was overrun with visitors during the lockdown.

She said: “I asked the question about the absence of deckchairs and sun loungers and expected the reasoning to be because of Covid - but the response I got was that it had nothing to do with that.

“They said it was because they had anti-social behaviour last year and they were concerned about the safety of staff and the possibility of chairs being used as weapons.

“I was mortified by the stupidity of the excuse - I thought they were joking or that someone had made a mistake, so I contacted them three times but got the same response.

“When I asked about the financial impact, they said they had adjusted the budget by £200,000 - it’s just the most wasteful, lazy, and ridiculous excuse."